Although I haven’t seen anything online about it yet, I’ve heard from a reliable source that Catherine Hall (1906) at Mississippi Industrial College in Holly Springs suffered a partial collapse during a bad storm last week. Those of you who have been to Holly Springs have undoubtedly passed the MIC campus, on the left across from Rust College–one of the most architecturally significant African American college campuses in the state, abandoned since the early 1980s, but still glorious in its decrepitude. The campus was on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 10 Most Endangered List in 2001, and at that time, they had this to say:
Founded in 1905 on the outskirts of Holly Springs, the Mississippi Industrial College trained young African-Americans for seventy-seven years under the sponsorship of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Elias Cottrell established the school “for the literary and industrial training of the Negro youth, to train young men and women in Christian ideals, to furnish a practical education, and to make of them better citizens.” Between 1906 and 1982, when the college closed, the school expanded from its two original buildings – Catherine Hall (1906) and Hammond Hall (1906) — to include ten structures, including dormitories, classroom buildings, teachers’ houses, and a gymnasium. Today, four historic buildings, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Mississippi Industrial College Historic District, stand unused and deteriorating on the west side of Highway 78, across from Rust College. Some stabilization work on the campus also threatens the buildings’ architectural integrity.
Rust College recently acquired the campus and there was some hope that they would find stimulus money or other grants to stablize and restore these buildings to use for their own campus. Right now, I don’t know the extent of the collapse–whether it’s something that can be stabilized or if its no longer salvageable. I’ll keep you updated on this story as more information becomes available.